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Declan Kidney taking the blame but puts faith in his boys to deliver

By Michael McGeary

Declan Kidney has accepted full responsibility for the tactics that led to Ireland's dismal performance and downfall against South Africa.

Ten changes in personnel have been made to the side defeated 23-21 last Saturday, though Kidney stressed squad-building was the motivation for picking the new-look line-up.

Ireland have been condemned for adopting an expansive gameplan despite dreadful conditions at the Aviva Stadium that were mastered instead by the unspectacular Springboks.

Other than a late fightback inspired by Ronan O'Gara, it was a frustrating evening which showed the team's attacking ambition must be reined in.

However, Kidney refuses to abandon the style of play that he believes capitalises on Ireland's strengths.

“We're bitterly disappointed by Saturday but we know we can play better,” he said.

“We have a plan and what you don't want to do is let what happened on Saturday make you tighten up.

“We know the way we want to play, we want to play the Irish way and we're not trying to imitate anyone. We're looking to play to our strengths.

“I'll put my hand up and say I didn't cover the avenue of what happens if it buckets down on Saturday. We'll learn from it and I believe we'll become a better side for it.”

Ireland have an immediate opportunity to redeem themselves with Samoa the next visitors on Saturday.

Giant second row forward Devin Toner who stands 6-10 gets his first cap against Samoa on Saturday as Ireland bid to come to terms with the line out problems that led to their undoing against the Springboks.

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll welcomed the sweeping changes made by coach Kidney insisting it reflected the strength in depth of the squad.

“It’s unusual for us to make so many changes, but I honestly don’t believe the side is in any way weakened by the wholesale changes.

“The guys chosen will bring an additional freshness and enthusiasm to the squad which will benefit everyone.

“What you might lose in terms of cohesion will be offset by a great wave of enthusiasm and total endeavour.”

Paying tribute to new cap Devin Toner he added: “He’s a very laid back sort of guy who appears to take everything in his stride and is a player with great self belief and confidence.

“Standing 6ft 10ins he’s an exceptionally good target in the line out and there’s no doubt his overall game has improved immensely over the last 12 to 18 months.”

The game against Samoa is a welcome opportunity for the Irish to redeem themselves after being outclassed by the current World champions South Africa last Saturday in the Aviva stadium.

Too often last week the sole topic of conversation was the ticket shambles that resulted in 15,000 empty seats. Now Ireland’s revamped XV has the opportunity to make headlines for all the right reasons.

Belfast Telegraph

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